Courtesy photo: Northwell Health

Peconic Bay Medical Center is opening up a new drive-thru coronavirus PCR testing site in Riverhead amidst a surge of coronavirus cases. 

Testing is free and available by appointment only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting on Tuesday and currently running through Monday, Jan. 3. Appointments can be made online here.

The entrance for drive-thru testing is located at the north entrance of the property of the former Mercy High School campus on Middle Road, according to PBMC Director of Marketing Victoria Palacio.

The announcement comes as at-home coronavirus tests and appointments at clinics remain scarce due to an increase in testing that public health experts say is fueled by the omicron variant and the winter months. 

The last few weeks have seen an increase in testing efforts by New York State. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that the county will open three additional testing sites, including one on the East End at Gabreski Airport. 

President Joe Biden said the federal government has purchased 500 million tests that will be distributed for free to American homes through a website in the new year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should be tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered should not be tested after exposure to the virus as long as they do not develop new symptoms, according to the CDC.

Coronavirus case positivity rates continued to increase over the weekend, with the weekly positivity rate hitting 14.9% in Suffolk County and 12.4% statewide. 

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]